Dalmatian Pelican at Diergaarde Blijdorp, Rotterdam (Holland)
The Dalmatian Pelican is the largest member of the pelican family, and perhaps the world's largest freshwater bird, although rivalled in weight and length by the largest Swans. They are elegant soaring birds, with wingspans that rival that of the Great Albatrosses, and their flocks fly in graceful synchrony. With a range spanning across much of Central Eurasia, from the Mediterranean in the West to the Taiwan Strait in the East, and from the Persian Gulf in the South to Siberia in the North, it is a short-to-medium-distance migrant between breeding and overwintering areas. As with other pelicans, the males are larger than the females, and likewise their diet is mainly fish. Their curly nape feathers, grey legs and silvery-white plumage are distinguishing features, and the wings appear solid grey in flight. The adults acquire a drabber plumage in winter, however, when they may be mistaken for Great White Pelicans. Their harsh vocalizations become more pronounced during the mating season.
Diergaarde Blijdorp, officially Rotterdam Zoo, is a zoo located in the northwestern part of Rotterdam. It is one of the oldest zoos in the Netherlands, and has been operated by the Stichting Koninklijke Rotterdamse Diergaarde ("Royal Rotterdam Zoo Foundation"). Divided into several zoogeographic regions, the 26-hectare (64.25-acre) Blijdorp Zoo is home to more than 180 species. It also has a shop, multiple cafes, and an information centre. The zoo is a member of the Dutch Zoo Federation (NVD) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). In 2007, it celebrated its 150th anniversary.